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25 Parent Involvement Activities For Elementary Schools
November 6, 2022 // by Brittany Collens
Parent involvement has a direct correlation to how successful and enjoyable a child’s experience is with the school. Sometimes kids may come home with questions, concerns, or enthusiasm from class and for that to be acknowledged and worked through, is incredibly important! Without a push from the school to get the parents involved, it is easy for them to get tied down with their own work. Creating engaging content for them is just as important so the school can develop impactful relationships. Check out these 25 parent involvement activities.
1. Welcome In Different Languages
The first time parents come into the classroom they should feel welcome. Expressing welcome in different languages based on the backgrounds of the families is a great way to do this. You can do it to specifically suit your children’s backgrounds or other common languages around the world.
Learn More: Gadoe.org
2. Open House Tour
Open houses are the most popular events of the year for teachers. It is a great chance for the parents to come into the school and meet the person educating their children. They also get a chance to see the environment that their child will be in.
3. Parent Curriculum
Just like a child will have their curriculum for the year, teachers should hand out a parent version. This should align with what the kids are doing so they are involved in their children’s education.
4. Field Trips With Parents
At the beginning of the year set the field trip calendar with open slots next to each one. Have parents sign up for the field trip that they want to volunteer for. This is a great bonding activity for the kids and their parents and having rotating adults also helps kids build relationships with other parents.
5. Fair Night
In addition to an open house, host a charity fair night for the kids and their parents to attend. There should be games and different stations where they can do activities together. This can have an educational component to it or it can be strictly good fun and games.
6. Work Together Assignments
Sometimes sending home assignments that are both for the kids and the parents is a great idea. The parents can be involved in knowing what the kids are learning whilst helping them learn. This offers a different perspective from a teacher’s and is important for the kids.
7. Parent Progress Reports
Set goals for the kids and parents at the beginning of the year. Teachers can send home progress reports that allow the parents to ask questions and read comments on how they can continue to get more involved. This keeps things organized and doesn’t save all discussions for teacher meetings.
8. My Family Tree
A great activity for kids and parents to do together is to make a family tree. This helps the teacher understand a little more about the child’s background. It also helps the child understand their background. This is a great educational experience for parents and kids to bond.
9. Extracurricular Volunteers
Sports and art need help when teachers cannot fill these positions. This is a great way for parents to get involved and help coach or direct certain music and arts programs. There is always plenty of space and opportunity for parents to get involved outside of academics!
10. Questions of the Month
Parents may have questions, but sometimes forget to email them in or reach out to teachers. Sending out an email to remind them to submit their questions monthly is a great way to stay in contact throughout the year and ensure everyone is on the same page.
11. Parent Show and Tell
Show and Tell has always been a favorite activity among the little ones, but having parents come in and do their own presentation is always interesting. Turn this into a bonding activity by having both parent and child present something together.
12. What’s Your Job?
Not every parent has to sign up for this one, but having parents volunteer to come in and talk about what they do is cool. The question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is always a big one!
13. Study Groups
Parents that have a little more time can be in charge of hosting study groups. Some kids may find a particular topic a little more challenging. Teachers can give parents resources and materials to host a study group where kids can sign up and get in extra hours.
14. Follow Up Report Cards
Leave a comment section for parents to sign off and ask questions about their kid’s report cards. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fantastic or needs improvement. Parents should be responsive to this and follow up with a meeting.
Learn More: Education World
15. Parent Webpage
Papers and folders sent home may get lost. A parent webpage is the easiest way for them to stay on top of their kid’s schedules and assignments. It’s also a great spot for resources. Leave a section with the teacher’s contact information.
16. Reference List For Parents
When the parents get a curriculum at the beginning of the year, they should also get a reference list. These can be things that kids need for each activity, field trip, or event during the year. It helps parents stay on track for the year and keep their kids organized.
17. Student Newsletter for Parents
Reading and writing are core skills learned in elementary. Have your kids create a student newsletter to keep their parents up to date with news and content being covered in class.
18. Join The School Board
Parents should always have a say in how their children are taught and be involved in their environment. That’s why schools have PTAs or PTOs for parents to get involved in.
Learn More: Michigan.Gov
19. Board Meetings
If you can’t commit to being on the PTA/PTO, that is OK. It is their job to host open board meetings where parents can voice their ideas and concerns. That is why the board then becomes a representative of the collective group.
20. Homework Sticker Checks
Parents should get sent home with parent sticker sheets so that when they check homework assignments, they can give their kids a sticker. This doesn’t have to be for every assignment, but it lets the teacher know that they are checking in from time to time.
21. Single Parent Resources
Not every parent has someone to help them out. Teachers can ensure that a community still supports a child by providing clear resources for single parents. Single parents may have a harder time volunteering which is why this is important to talk about early on.
22. Parents Make Friends Too
The buddy system is a great idea that’s been around forever. Making the parents find a buddy is a great way of holding them accountable. Life gets crazy and reaching out to another kid’s parent is an easy way to get questions answered quickly.
23. Address Book For Open House
At the open house at the beginning of the year, there should be an address or contact book. Have parents fill out their emails, phone numbers, and addresses upon arriving so it is easy for the teacher to reach out if need be. Even if the school already does this, it’s great to confirm.
24. Parent Luncheon
Not every day do you get to have lunch with your kids. Select a date for parents to go through the lunch lines with their kids. Have them bring a lunch or eat at school. This gives them an up-close view of your kid’s day-to-day.
25. Kids Go To Work
Instead of having the parent come in and talk about their job, let the kids pick one day out of the year when they get to go to work with a parent and come back with a report on what they learned.
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Welcome to the home of National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week!
Project Appleseed believes we CAN end gun violence. The U.S. Secret Service found that most school shooters showed warning signs .
Project Appleseed goes beyond just implementing proven strategies. It's about fostering a culture of enthusiasm and excitement about parenting within the school and wider community. By celebrating and prioritizing the crucial role of families in their children's education, we can inspire and mobilize the entire community to help every student succeed. Join us today !
Family Engagement Activities for Schools
A school activity is any activity that takes place within a school setting, whether it is related to academics or not. School activities can be organized by the school itself, by teachers, parents or by students. They can take place during the school day, after school, or on weekends. The purpose of school activities is to provide students with a well-rounded education and to help them develop skills and interests beyond the classroom. There are several reasons why a variety of high- impact family engagement activities are important for schools:
Improved ac ademic outcomes: Research has shown that students tend to perform better academically when their families are actively involved in their education. This is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds , who may not have the same resources and support at home as their more affluent peers.
Stronger relationships: Family engagement activities help to build strong relationships between schools, families, and communities. When families feel connected to their child's school, they are more likely to be involved in their education and to advocate for their child's needs.
Increased involvement: Family engagement activities can help to increase the overall level of involvement among families. This can include participation in school events, volunteering, and decision-making processes .
Greater sense of community: Family engagement activities can help to create a sense of community within a school, which can lead to a more positive and supportive learning environment for students.
Improved communication : Family engagement activities can help to improve communication between schools and families, which is crucial for ensuring that students have the support they need to succeed.
150 Days of Engaging Parents: Activities for Each Standar d
Plant the seeds of school improvement in your local schools with activities for your families every week of the school year! Research has shown that high-impact family engagement is critical for student success, and the Six Slices of Family Engagement provide a framework for effective parent engagement in schools. To facilitate family engagement in your schools, here are dozens of family engagement activities, events, and strategies aligned with each of the Six Slices of Family Engagement that can be implemented during the 150 days between National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week - or anytime of the year!
Welcome All Families
Parental Involvement Toolbox
Count Volunteers and Time
Red Carpet Treatment!
Breakfast or Coffee & Pastries
Celebrate Dads’ Involvement
Family Engagement Game
International Parent Potluck
H ost an Open House
Parental Involve ment Checklist
Reaching Out w/ Brown-Bag Lunches
Parent Perceptions Scale
Communicate Your School's Event
Support Student Success
Parent E ngagement Pledge
Parent Engagement Report Card
Family Engagement Workshop
Attendance & Mental Health
Family Math Night
Bedtime Story Night
Mentoring and Tutoring
Go to School With Your Student Day
TikTok Gratitude Contest
Involve Parents in School Health
Walk and Roll to School
Family Fitness Night
Promote Healthy Behaviors
Speak Up for Every Child
Parent Involvement Policy Meeting
District Advisory Council
Start A PTA Chapter
PTO Informational Meeting
Inventory Volunteer Interests
Title I Meeting
Collaborating with Community
Issue A Proclamation!
Organize a R ally Or a Parade
Awards for Parents, Grandparents
Pre-K B eautification Day
Slice 1. Welcome All Families
Parental Involvement Toolbox
Unlock the potential of parent engagement in your school community with the Family Engagement Toolbox . Our comprehensive program is designed to help schools mobilize high-impact family engagement to improve student outcomes. Each toolbox includes a branded Parent Engagement Pledge and Parent Engagement Report Card , tailored to your school's logo. Our research-based and effective model meets district, state and Title I ESSA mandates and helps schools organize parent responsibility effectively. Events and Activities: National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week , to increase the involvement of the parents in the school community . The Red Carpet Treatment - Welcome Atmosphere Walk-Through, to create a welcoming environment for parents and students.
This activity is most closely associated with
Slice 1: Welcome All Families
Count Volunteers and Volunteer Time
Schools can count the number of parent and family volunteers by using a standard hourly rate to calculate the value of the time contributed by parents and families. The average value of volunteer time is $29.95 an hour. This is based on the Independent Sector's value of volunteer time, which is an annually updated estimate of the average hourly value of volunteer time in the United States.
By tracking the number of volunteer hours contributed by parents and family members and multiplying that number by the hourly rate, schools can estimate the monetary value of the time these volunteers have donated to the school. For example, if a parent volunteers for 10 hours in a month, that would be equivalent to a donation of nearly $300 based on the hourly rate of $29.95.
Reporting these metrics can be an important indicator of family engagement because it demonstrates the level of support and involvement that families are providing to the school. This information can be useful in measuring the impact of family engagement programs and identifying areas where additional support or resources may be needed to increase family involvement.
By encouraging parents to take the Parent Engagement Pledge , schools can increase the number of volunteers and the total value of volunteer time contributed. This can have a positive impact on the school community, as it fosters a sense of collaboration, shared responsibility for the success of the students and accountability for all.
Slice 1, Welcome All Families
Give Families the Red Carpet Treatment!
Welcome families to your school with the Red Carpet Treatment , an innovative tool designed to create a more welcoming environment for all families. As part of the Family Engagement Toolbox , the Red Carpet Treatment is a family-friendly walk-through process that brings educators, parents, community members, school board members, and administrators together to identify ways to improve the school for families.
By taking the time to walk through the school and consider how it looks and feels through the lenses of all families, including parents of children with disabilities, you can create an environment that truly welcomes and supports every family. This toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to conduct the walk-through, and the checklists and questions to use during the process.
Host an event to announce a new PTA or to boost membership in your PTA. The PTA is a key organization to connect parents, especially new parents to your school with other parents and community members.
Set up tables to welcome families and community members to your school. Make available membership forms to enroll new PTA members.
Make special name tags for members that say, “Ask me about the PTA’” or “Join the PTA Today.”
Provide “Welcome Bags” with school information, PTA brochures, and goodies gathered from local businesses or organizations. Include a bookmark with the dates of PTA meetings and special PTA sponsored school events.
Have a chart with a list of volunteer opportunities so parents can take the Pledge and sign up to help. Man the table with a volunteer to encourage sign-ups!
One way to engage fathers and male role models is through "Donuts for Dads" events. Invite fathers and other male role models to come to the school for a morning treat and a chance to spend time with their child in the classroom. Encourage teachers to plan activities for fathers to participate in alongside their children, such as reading a book together or working on a craft project. Not only will this create a positive and fun atmosphere for the students, but it will also give fathers an opportunity to see firsthand the work their children are doing and how they can support their learning at home. Be sure to promote the event through flyers and social media, and also reach out to local media outlets to get the word out to the community.
Slice 3, Support Student Success
Game Night: Family Engagement Game for Change
The Family Engagement Game is an effort, whether online or in-person, to invite meaningful discussion and create a rich learning experience that evokes participation and problem-solving from all learners. The purpose of gaming is to allow practitioners opportunities to collaborate, reflect, try out new ideas, and take risks in a space that is both fun and safe. When designed within the lens of professional development, games provide an opportunity for co-creating learning experiences that capitalize on practitioners’ diverse expertise. From the Global Family Research Project .
You can also ask families to bring their favorite board games to play together. You might also call local stores to donate games for this event. Provide a light dinner or dessert night. Some easy and fun ideas are any type of card games (Uno, Go Fish, War, etc.), Pictionary, Charades, Dominoes, Connect 4, etc.
International Parent Potluck
Culturally and linguistically responsive family engagement practices recognize and respect the cultural and linguistic diversity of families, and aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages parental involvement in their children's education.
When educators and schools use culturally and linguistically responsive family engagement practices, they demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of families' cultural backgrounds and linguistic needs. This, in turn, can help to build trust and create stronger relationships between families and schools, which can lead to increased parental involvement.
For example, when schools provide materials and resources in families' native languages, parents who may not be fluent in English are better able to understand the curriculum and communicate with teachers. When schools host events and activities that reflect the cultural backgrounds of families, parents feel more comfortable and are more likely to attend.
In addition, when schools engage in two-way communication with families, actively seeking input and feedback, parents feel valued and are more likely to become partners in their child's education. This can lead to increased parent-teacher communication and collaboration, which has been linked to improved academic achievement and higher rates of school attendance.
Slice 6, Collaborating with Community
Slice 2. Communicate Effectively
Host an open house
Hosting a successful school open house or parent night is a great way to connect with the parents of your students, familiarize them with your teaching style and classroom, and let them know what you expect from their children in the coming year. Additionally, it's an excellent opportunity to get parents involved with the school and volunteering . However, since open houses and parent nights typically have limited time, it's important to plan ahead and make the most of the event.
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Slice 2, Communicate Effectively
Home-to-School, School-to-Home Communication
Promote parent engagement in school activities by creating opportunities for open communication and feedback. Encourage parents to share their thoughts and suggestions on school-related topics through various channels, such as suggestion boxes, surveys, focus groups, and online forums. Make it easy for parents to connect with the school and have their voices heard by providing clear and accessible ways for them to share their input. By actively seeking out and valuing parent feedback, schools can work towards creating a more inclusive and responsive environment for students and families.
Slice 2, Communicate Effectively
Parental Involvement Checklist
Take the first step towards improving your school's parent-school partnerships with Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Checklist . This valuable resource, available on our website, is designed to help you evaluate your school's current efforts to reach out to parents and identify areas for improvement.
The checklist guides you through key questions to help you understand the effectiveness of your partnerships practices at each grade level. It also helps you identify which practices are working well and which need improvement or should be added. Additionally, it encourages you to think about the long-term goals for your school's family involvement practices, and how you envision them to look in three years from now.
Slice 2: Communicate Effectively
This event is designed to promote engagement between parents and children, and the games are suitable for all ages, ensuring that everyone can participate. Whether you are at home or at school, you can enjoy these games and help your child learn in a fun and engaging way.
So come join us for a Great Day of games and celebration, as we recognize the importance of parental involvement in education. Let's make this National Parental Involvement Day one to remember!
Reaching Out to Parents Over Brown-Bag Lunches
Bringing together parents, community members, and school administrators over a brown-bag lunch is a great way to foster better relationships and keep everyone informed. By inviting parents and community members to these informal gatherings, school administrators are able to gain valuable insights into the community and improve relations with parents.
Superintendents and principals have found that brown-bag lunch chats are an effective public relations program that provides an opportunity to give the school's perspective on issues and provide factual information. The informal setting allows for open and honest conversations and helps to break down barriers and build stronger connections between the school and community.
So why not try it out in your school or district? It's a simple, yet effective way to improve communication and understanding between the school and community. Reach out to parents and community members and invite them to a brown-bag lunch chat, and see the positive impact it can have on your school and district."
Parent Perceptions of Overall School Experiences Scale
The five-item Parent Perceptions of Overall School Experiences Scale is a brief, universal measure of parents’ perceptions of their overall experiences with their children’s schools. Schools, parents, and community members may use this measure to assess parents’ needs and to advocate for necessary programmatic changes that serve parents and their children.
Provide open lines of communication for receiving comments and suggestions from parents on school related topics, and build the school’s capacity to route this information to the intended persons. Establish multiple mechanisms for gathering opinions from parents, students, and teachers, such as on-site suggestion boxes, annual parent surveys, random- sample parent phone surveys, parent/teacher focus groups, and school-sponsored parent blogs.
Brand and Communicate Your School's Event
Create a unique name for your National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week event that represents your school or community. For example, in Topeka, you could name the event "Topeka Parental Involvement Day" and "Topeka Public School Volunteer Week". Utilize different forms of communication to keep parents informed about health-related topics and events, such as flyers, memos, banners, signs, door hangers, newsletters, report cards, progress reports, postcards, letters, monthly calendars of events, websites, web boards, text messaging and email messages.
Slice 3. Support Student Success
Getting Started Ask Families to Take the Pledge!
Our comprehensive Parent Engagement Pledge asks parents to volunteer 10 hours each in their local school and spend 15 minutes each night reading with their children, creating a positive impact in the education of their children. But the benefits don't stop there, by distributing the pledge to parents during parent-teacher conferences or teacher home visits , you can achieve a response rate approaching 80%. But the real value comes from the economic impact of the pledge. According to U.S. Department of Education data, 43% of K-12 parents volunteer at school . Independent Sector has announced that the estimated value of a volunteer hour in the United States reached $29.95 in 2022 . That means, that each parent who takes the Parent Engagement Pledge is generating $300.00 in volunteer impact. Imagine the impact if 43% of the families in your community volunteered in your schools by taking the pledge! That's an impact of over $100,000 for your school. The cost of the pledge is only $400.00 for a Family Engagement Toolbox , a small price to pay for such a significant impact on your school community.
Parental Involvement Report Card: Gather Family Opinions
Project Appleseed offers the Parental Involvement Report Card as a self-assessment tool to help parents evaluate their involvement in their child's education. The report card, consisting of 30 questions, can serve as a guide for parents to identify ways they can support their child both at home and at school. Schools can easily distribute the report card to all families by purchasing Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Toolbox. This tool is an excellent way to encourage parents to be more involved in their child's education, and it's a simple and easy way to get started.
Traveling Family Engagement Workshop
Promote Project Appleseed's family engagement workshops for schools. Our expert, Kevin Walker , will lead the training and provide evidence-based strategies for involving parents in their child's education. From teacher home visits , parent-teacher conferences to volunteer opportunities, learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with families to improve student success. Utilize our resources, such as the Parent Engagement Pledge and Inventory of Volunteer Interests , to tailor activities and involve parents in unique ways. Sign up for our workshops now to strengthen family-school partnerships in your community.
Attendance and Mental Health
We are excited to invite you to our upcoming Parent Advisory Council event, where we will delve into two crucial topics: attendance and mental health. Join us on National Parental Involvement Day as we explore strategies to support our children's well-being.
During this engaging session, expert speakers will share insights on how attendance positively impacts academic success and overall development. We will also discuss practical ways to address barriers to regular attendance and strengthen our children's commitment to their education.
Furthermore, we will shed light on the vital topic of mental health, providing guidance on recognizing signs of distress, fostering resilience, and accessing resources available within our community.
Your voice matters, and we value your input! Join us to collaborate, share experiences, and collectively create a supportive environment for our children. Together, let's empower our children to thrive academically and emotionally!
Make reading a fun and engaging part of everyday life with National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week activities that promote community literacy. Whether you organize storytelling nights, invite guest authors and poets to share their work, create read-aloud programs, host book fairs and drives, or plan family literacy nights, there are many ways to encourage reading and learning in your community.
One great way to get students excited about reading is to involve older students as reading tutors. Partner with local colleges and universities to recruit work-study students and other college students as reading tutors. This not only provides valuable support for younger students, but it also helps to promote a culture of reading and learning within the community. Encourage older student groups such as Girl Scouts to volunteer as reading tutors and make a positive impact on the learning of the younger students.
Calling all young dreamers and storybook enthusiasts! We are excited to invite you to an unforgettable evening filled with captivating tales and cozy bedtime fun.
Here's what's in store for you:
Bedtime stories: Our talented teachers and special guests will bring beloved stories to life, transporting you to magical worlds and igniting your imagination. Interactive performances: Watch as characters from classic fairytales step right off the pages and into our school, captivating young and old alike.
Craft activities: Unleash your creativity with fun crafts inspired by the stories you hear, allowing your imagination to soar even further.
Milk and cookies: No bedtime routine is complete without a sweet treat! Enjoy milk and cookies as a delightful bedtime snack.
Discover the vast array of extracurricular opportunities available to students and families at our school and in the community at an Extracurricular Showcase event! From sports teams and cheer groups to band, chorus, clubs, robotics, dance, drama, after-school programs, and community partnership services and resources, this event is the perfect way to explore all of the ways students can develop their interests and talents beyond the classroom.
Experience firsthand demonstrations of sports teams, cheer groups, band and chorus performances, robotics demonstrations, dance and drama performances, and more. Learn about the various clubs and after-school programs offered, and discover the community partnership services and resources available to support student growth.
Incorporate a diverse range of volunteer opportunities to involve parents in different activities. Encourage parent volunteers to showcase their skills and talents by leading engaging and fun activities during lunchtime, weekends, and after-school. These activities could include leading walks, games, and exercise programs such as dance, cheerleading, karate, aerobics, and yoga. Utilize the expertise of parents in fields such as personal training or gardening to organize health fairs or create school gardens. The possibilities are endless with Project Appleseed's Parent Engagement Pledge and Inventory of Volunteer Interests .
Reach the potential of students of all ages with a Community Mentoring Program ! This program connects parent volunteers and college students with high school and middle school students, who in turn mentor elementary school students. The mentoring program offers a wide range of activities such as learning math and science, visiting museums, participating in community service, recreational activities like a mentor basketball league, and providing tutoring and homework help.
Through this program, students will have the opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge from experienced mentors, who can help guide and support them in their academic and personal growth. The program is designed to give all students the resources they need to succeed, and it is a great way for parents, college students and high school students to give back to the community.
Take Your Family to School Week
National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week , celebrated Feb. 13–17, 2023, is designed to provide families with an opportunity to get more involved in their child’s education and strengthen their partnerships with teachers and administrators. The timing of the week honors the day PTA was founded , Feb. 17, 1897. This event, commonly known as "Bring Your Parent to School Day" or "Take Your Parent to School Day," provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to gain a deeper understanding of their child's daily school experience and to see firsthand the teaching and learning taking place in the classrooms. It allows them to observe the teacher's teaching style, the curriculum, and the interactions between the students and the teacher.
Dallas ISD is celebrating Nov. 17, National Parent Involvement Day all week long with events hosted by the Family and Community Engagement department. It’s important that our parents feel valued and below are ways students can highlight the powerful contributions that parents and guardians provide at school and at home to support student success.
Monday, Nov. 14: Facebook Live Appreciation – Parents are invited to join us on Facebook Live at 9 a.m. for a special message from Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Stephanie Elizalde and the Trustees as they share their gratitude for parents.
Tuesday, Nov. 15: Crazy Sock day – Students and staff are allowed to wear crazy socks.
Wednesday. Nov. 16: I’m Thankful For My Parents Because….?
Elementary: Students are asked to bring a picture of their parents/caregivers and write down reasons why they are thankful for their parents.
Secondary: Enter the Family and Community Engagement TikTok contest to show how grateful we are for our parents/caregivers by creating a TikTok. Upload your video using the hashtag #DISDPARENTS. The most creative video will have a chance to win a prize.
Thursday, Nov. 17: Drive-Thru Greetings – At drop-off or pick-up faculty, staff and students are invited to create signs or posters and use streamers or other decorations to celebrate parents. Campuses can gift parents snacks or treats to show their appreciation as well.
TikTok Challenge Rules:
The TikTok challenge is only open to secondary Dallas ISD students. All submissions must follow guidelines and will be judged on originality and creativity. Use the hashtag #DISDPARENTS to enter.
TikTok must be focused on thanking parents/guardians.
TikTok length: 30-to-60-second video.
Appropriate sound: No profanity or inappropriate language.
Appropriate skit/dance/appearance: no inappropriate gestures or clothing.
Involve Parents in School Health
Promote a healthy school environment by involving parents in school health activities. Utilize resources such as CDC's Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health and Promoting Parent Engagement in School Health: A Facilitator's Guide for Staff Development to develop a plan for engaging parents. These resources provide evidence-based strategies for connecting, engaging, and sustaining parent involvement in school health initiatives, through the Parents for Healthy Schools program.
Strap on your helmet and lace up your shoes. National Bike & Roll to School Day is May 3, 2023, and registration is now open.
Bike & Roll to School Day invites participants to celebrate the joy of active commuting while building a sense of community and school spirit. Whether addressing the need to make routes to school safer for active trips or encouraging children and teens to be more active, these events can be powerful tools to inspire lasting change . Of course, they are also fun!
While May 3 is this year’s official date, communities are welcome to celebrate any day in May that best fits their schedules. Register today to join the movement!
Join with families to identify health promotion projects in the community that could involve parents. For example, invite family members to participate in physical activities at school or in the community, such as runs or walkathons. Kick off National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week with a special welcome for new students and families in the community. Host discussions about how parents can support healthy behaviors at home. Such discussions might be held at open houses and back-to-school nights , at parent meetings, and during parent-teacher conferences.
Reaching students with the message about the importance of fitness isn't enough. Go for the gold with events designed to bring in students and their families too. Involve the Physical Education teachers to plan physical activities in the gym like karate, kick-boxing, aerobics, dance, yoga, Pilates, hip hop, Zumba, and body sculpting. In the main hallways provide information tables work with a local community clinic to bring their bus and provide free health screenings for families. Especially popular with students are the opportunities to try physical activities.
Suggest ways parents can make family outings fun learning experiences and promote healthy behaviors (e.g., picking fruit or hiking). Ask parents to engage their children in health-related learning experiences, such as cooking dinner and packing lunch together, shopping for healthy foods, and reading labels on over-the-counter medicines.
Our partner at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined with Project Appleseed to release resources on parent engagement in school for the 18th annual National Parental Involvement Day .
The guides are provided as a free tool in the Parental Involvement Toolbox. Drawing from research and best practices from schools across the country, the CDC collaborated with key partners to create the strategies found in Parents for Healthy Schools to give schools a framework for parent engagement. There are three aspects of the parent engagement framework:
Connecting with parents thru the Parental Involvement Pledge learning compact.
Engaging parents in school health activities.
Sustaining parent engagement in school health.
Slice 4. Speak Up for Every Child
Promote the creation of a parent involvement policy within your school or district. Begin by implementing Project Appleseed's Parent Engagement Pledge , a Title I learning compact that clearly communicates the school's commitment to involving families and the community in the education of their children. Establish a parent resource center as a hub for families to access information on relevant topics, connect with one another, and interact with school staff. This center can serve as a valuable resource for promoting and facilitating ongoing parent involvement.
Slice 4, Speak Up for Every Child
District Advisory Council
Join our District Advisory Council and be part of the decision-making process. Together, we can strengthen the family's voice and create policies that benefit our children and community. Let's build strong connections and raise concerns together. #SharedDecisionMaking #FamilyEngagement
Note: This single social media post can be shared across platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to reach a wider audience.
Start a PTA Chapter
Whether you are a parent, caregiver, school official or community leader, starting a PTA in your community is easy!
Each local PTA is a member-led and member-run independent association providing programs, activities and services to support its members and community. All PTAs are established to achieve PTA’s mission. All PTAs must comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations.
Local PTAs are connected to their state PTA, at times a district, council or region PTA within the state and National PTA. These connections form a nationwide network of millions of members working on behalf of all children and youth.
PTA is flexible … There are a number of different types of PTAs.
Hundreds of ways to engage on our signature event days!
Get ideas for celebrating two of the oldest family engagement events in America!
National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week cannot take place without the support of parents, educators, school boards, sponsors, partners, speakers, staff, and the attendees themselves. Project Appleseed wants to show our gratitude to all those who helped make National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week a success. Here's a look at hundreds of past events across the country:
"#nationalparentalinvolvementday" "National Parental Involvement Day"
"#publicschoolvolunteerweek" "Public School Volunteer Week"
Slice 5. Share Power
We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) Informational Meeting, coinciding with the celebrated National Parental Involvement Day. Join us on the third Thursday in November to learn more about the exciting initiatives and opportunities available to actively engage in your child's education.
During this informative session, we will discuss the crucial role of parental involvement in fostering a supportive learning environment. You will gain insights into how you can contribute to school activities, volunteer for events, and participate in decision-making processes that directly impact your child's education.
Moreover, we will highlight the various committees within our PTO, providing a chance for you to connect with like-minded parents who share your passion for creating a thriving school community.
Your involvement is invaluable! Join us to learn, connect, and make a difference in your child's educational journey.
Secure your spot. Together, let's celebrate National Parental Involvement Day and strengthen our partnership for the benefit of our children.
Slice 5, Share Power
Promote parent involvement by utilizing Project Appleseed's tools. Assess the unique skills and interests of your parent volunteers using the Inventory of Volunteer Interests. Encourage them to lead engaging activities during lunchtime, weekends, and after-school. From leading walks and games, to teaching dance, cheerleading, karate, aerobics, yoga and more, the possibilities are endless. Utilize the expertise of parents in fields such as personal training or gardening to organize health fairs or start school gardens. Make a positive impact on students' lives by utilizing Project Appleseed's Parent Engagement Pledge and Inventory of Volunteer Interests .
Attention all parents and guardians!
Join us for our Annual Title I Family Engagement Meeting, where your voice matters! 🗣️ Let's shape the future together and create a parent involvement policy that supports our students' success.
At this meeting, we'll discuss important topics such as building a strong community, effective communication strategies, supporting student achievement, amplifying your voice, sharing power, and collaborating with the wider community.
Your active participation is crucial in shaping our school's family engagement initiatives. Together, we can create an inclusive and vibrant learning environment for our children.
Mark your calendars, spread the word, and make sure to attend this valuable event! We can't wait to hear your ideas and insights.
Let's make a difference in our children's education! See you there! #NationalParentalInvolvementDay
Town Hall Meeting
Calling all parents and guardians!
Mark your calendars for an empowering event that you won't want to miss! Join us for a special School District Town Hall Meeting on National Parental Involvement Day!
This is your chance to actively engage and make a difference in your child's education! We value your input and want to hear your ideas, concerns, and suggestions about our school district.
Share your thoughts on curriculum, extracurricular activities, parental involvement programs, and more. Let's work together to create a supportive learning environment for our children!
Don't miss this opportunity to connect with other parents, educators, and community members who share your passion for education. Together, we can shape the future of our school district!
Be heard, be involved, and be a part of something great. We look forward to seeing you at the School District Town Hall Meeting on National Parental Involvement Day!
Please spread the word and bring a friend. Together, let's make a positive impact in our children's lives!
Slice 6. Collaborating with Community
Learn how to collaborate with your community with the PTA Virtual Town Hall on the updated National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Tune in to discover how using the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships can enhance your efforts to help children and communities thrive. Hear about the latest updates to the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships , discover our newest resources, and learn directly from leading researchers and practitioners in the field. Access it here on YouTube.
Hilliard Elementary School Community, is thrilled to share some fantastic updates from @Hilliard_ES! Our recent School Climate Survey results are in, and we are grateful for the invaluable feedback received from parents. With your input, we have developed an action plan to further enhance our school climate and ensure an optimal learning environment for our students.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to @MoultryEdrick and our dedicated campus staff for their excellent effort and unwavering commitment in implementing the action plan. Together, we are making a positive impact on our school community.
As we celebrate National Parental Involvement Day, we want to express our gratitude for your continued support and engagement. Your involvement is instrumental in shaping the educational experience of our students. We encourage you to join us in upcoming events and initiatives to foster a strong partnership between home and school.
Stay tuned for more updates and exciting opportunities to make a difference at @Hilliard_ES!
Make your National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week events stand out with official recognition. Reach out to your school board, mayor, city council, state representative, or governor to request a proclamation celebrating Project Appleseed's National Parental Involvement Day (Third Thursday in November) and Public School Volunteer Week (Third Week of April). This official recognition will not only highlight the importance of parental involvement in your schools but also bring attention to your event and make it more meaningful for your community.
Organize a rally or a parade
Unite your community and showcase the importance of family engagement by organizing a rally or parade. Bring together families, educators and community leaders to celebrate the impact of parental involvement on student success. A steering committee of various community and school leaders, such as the school superintendent, mayor, school board members, city council members, local business leaders, and representatives from organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA/YWCA, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and Urban League can help plan and execute a successful event.
With their input and support, the rally or parade can reflect the needs and interests of the community, and create a fun and interactive way to involve families and promote the importance of family engagement . By bringing together families, educators, and community leaders, a rally or parade can create a sense of unity and collaboration towards the success of students.
Slice 6, Collaborate with Community
Promote parental involvement by recognizing and honoring those who have made significant contributions to education in your community. Host a special ceremony to present awards to parents, community leaders, and local government officials who have demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting students and families. Consider categories such as "Outstanding Parent Involvement," "Community Partner of the Year," and "Government Official of the Year." By highlighting the positive impact of these individuals, you can inspire others to get involved and make a difference in the lives of students. Don't forget to share the event and the awardees on social media to show appreciation and recognize their contributions.
(Pictured) Pre-Covid throwback: National Parental Involvement Day 2019 - Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, former Connecticut state supt., presents moms with SERC Award for family advocacy.
Pre-K Beautification Day
A pre-K beautification event is a fun and engaging activity that involves parents and their pre-kindergarten children in sprucing up their school environment. During the event, parents and students work together to plant flowers, paint murals, and clean up the school grounds. This collaborative effort fosters a sense of community and ownership, as parents and students take pride in their school and work to make it a beautiful and inviting place. The event can also serve as an opportunity for parents to meet and socialize with each other, and for children to learn about the importance of caring for their environment.
There’s a score to quantify parental involvement. Schools and teachers want you to know yours.
The Parental Involvement Report Card
How Family Engagement Leads to Student Success
- June 26, 2023
Find Expert-Led Strategies That Work for Your School
Visit the Waterford webinars page to learn from educational experts like Candra Morris, Dr. Jenni Torres, Julie Christensen, and others on topics that include:
- Fostering Family Engagement
- Teaching with the Science of Reading
- Understanding the Six Literacy Strands
On both the classroom and schoolwide level, family involvement in education can make a profound difference in early learning outcomes. When educators build strong relationships, families can reinforce what their students are learning in the classroom as they set their own routines and expectations at home.
As an educator, it’s important to remember that all families are different. While they may face barriers to their involvement, such as scheduling or transportation needs, always assume that families are eager to support their children however they can.
Focus on getting to know families so you have a solid understanding of their needs and what is going on in their lives. Use that knowledge and work with families to find ways to support their students at home and, if desired, in your school. Read on to learn what family engagement includes and how you can build a community where families are valued at your school.
What Is Family Engagement?
Educators can connect families with opportunities to actively contribute to the school community, set student goals, and create strong home learning environments. Families understand their child’s needs, strengths, and areas of growth and use that understanding to inform the strategies educators use.
Engagement can involve a variety of opportunities depending on the individual family. Some families may want to take an active role in the classroom by volunteering or joining parent-teacher organizations. Others may prefer at-home options in which they stay connected with teachers through digital communication and help students build the skills they’re learning in class from home.
Family Engagement Leads to Mutual Respect and Student Success
The importance of family involvement in education is clear, and the benefits profound. In a retrospective looking at 50 different studies, researchers found strong connections between family involvement and academic achievement. Support and involvement from educators and families are crucial to a student’s academic performance. This is one reason administrators must value families as a crucial part of their school environment.
By engaging families, educators can create partnerships founded on respect. Educators recognize the valuable understanding families have of their child’s learning needs. As they build trust over time, families likewise come to recognize the expertise and training educators have to help students learn.
Remember that there is no way to know a student’s full history and needs without connecting with their family. Likewise, educators can’t effectively involve a child’s caregivers without understanding events and communication options that interest the family most. In the most effective partnerships, educators work with families to determine the individual and school-wide strategies that will best involve caregivers and meet each student’s needs.. .
As Candra Morris, Waterford’s Director of Family Partnerships, notes in a recent article , “We must include opportunities to elevate family voices and to involve them in the process to ensure they get what they need.”
Recognizing and Addressing Barriers to Engagement
Teachers and administrators must be aware of significant barriers as they determine how to involve families in the classroom. Many families face structural barriers like a busy work schedule or a lack of transportation that make in-person options challenging. Other families may encounter societal barriers that discourage them from working with educators, especially if schools do not actively make sure families feel respected.
As you address structural barriers, get to know the families in your school and find ways they can get involved in their child’s education that work with their needs. If a family is facing transportation issues or a busy work schedule, for example, advise teachers to consider virtual calls or provide flexible meeting times if they can.
To address societal barriers that alienate families, create a school-wide culture that values diversity and embraces every family’s voice. Offer professional development opportunities to your teachers that include strategies for creating inclusive classrooms and recognizing implicit biases. Additionally, seek anonymous family feedback (e.g.,through surveys) to learn specific areas where your school can improve and determine ways to reach those goals.
The more you connect with families in your school, the better you will understand the barriers they face. No matter how you respond to these issues, the key is this: by definition, your strategies cannot follow a universal template. Instead, adjust them to meet the circumstances of the families you serve.
How Administrators Can Support and Engage Families
As teachers open their classroom doors for back to school nights, consider leaving your office door open or spending time in the front lobby. Start conversations with families and learn the names of people you haven’t met before. Give them your contact information so they know how to reach you if any questions or concerns arise.
Through the school year, administrators play a crucial role in assisting and advising teachers as they build relationships with families. Establish yourself as a trusted leader for teachers to voice the barriers to engagement they come up against and ask for insight. As you model open communication and a willingness to listen with your teachers, you also encourage them to do the same with families.
To promote classroom engagement plans on a larger scale, consider offering professional development opportunities to teachers. Independent options like online courses, webinars , or in-person training sessions can give teachers fresh ideas to connect with families through the school year.
1. Hill, N. E., & Tyson, D. F. “Parental involvement in middle school: a meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement.” Developmental psychology , 2009, 45(3), 740-63.
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[teacher tips] 7 ways to encourage parent involvement.
There are several studies that have found that parental involvement plays a significant role in student success. As educators, you know this. But, how do you go about getting parents involved in their child’s learning? Our list of seven tips for parent involvement builds on Joyce Epstein’s six types of family involvement framework and evolves it for the 21st century student. Take a look!
Hearst and Disney
Children need to know you and their parents are on the same team. When you set expectations with both students and parents at the beginning of the school year, you can create a partnership of open communication and build trust. A great way to do this is by building a classroom contract of expectations for both students and parents to sign and/or by having students create goals for their personal and educational growth. When everyone is on the same page, it builds a great foundation for a team approach going into a new school year.
Create a Class Website
Jorge Calderon a.k.a. Sanderick
Work smarter, not harder. Don’t overwhelm yourself with emails from parents asking when assignments are due, what their child’s grade in the class is, etc. Set up a class website where parents can easily access this information, and let them know this is an option when you are setting your classroom expectations. A classroom website is a great spot to post grading policies, helpful online resources, class schedules, projects, and assignments. They’re easy to set up with templated websites like Wix or Squarespace, and they allow you to be proactive for the entire school year in minutes.
Make Constant Contact by Sharing Progress
Make sure that you reach out to parents on a regular basis, and make sure that parents know how to get ahold of you. If you schedule quarterly parent meetings, you’ll be able to give updates, connect, and manage interactions on your own schedule. Research shows that children do better when parents talk often with their teachers and become involved in their school. Share small wins on a weekly basis through automatic emails or progress folders that are to be signed by parents. This lets them to know how their child is progressing in class, and it is useful recordkeeping for parent/teacher conferences. Win-win!
Ask Parents to Get Involved and Host Events
The more involved parents are with their child’s school, the more involved they will be with their child’s learning. Work with the existing PTA to create opportunities for new parents to get involved, or go above and beyond the typical teacher outreach by hosting events for parents. Some great event ideas include a “technology night” where you discuss the online curriculum students are using in the classroom so that parents can gain a better understanding. Another popular idea is a workshop for parents on topics their children are learning so that they can better help with homework. This is also a great way to get feedback on times that work best to reach parents.
Offer Parent Office Hours
Ultimately, face-to-face meetings are a critical way to build rapport with parents, but virtual face time works just as well when in-person meetings are not an option. Being flexible is the best way to make sure that parents are making these meetings. In a technology-rich world, this can mean using something like FaceTime or Zoom when parents can’t be physically in your classroom for a one-on-one meeting. Allowing parent to know when you’re available and providing a variety of options and times can help parents not feel discouraged when schedules don’t line up.
Provide Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
Whether it’s on your website, in your student expectations contract, or in your quarterly meeting invitation—you should have a parent resource center where parents can turn when they have urgent questions. A parent resource is a great way to ensure that you don’t have to be available 24/7. What should go in a parent resource center? Here are some of our suggestions:
- Guides on how to access student programs from home
- Information on before- or after-school programs
- School-offered or community-offered tutoring programs
- A schedule of the school and local library hours
- Important websites , including online program login pages and reliable source centers
Commit to Your Goals
Throughout the year, you get busy, and sometimes, updates about struggling students take precedent over the students who are on track in your classes. But, be sure to do your best to make contact with all of the parents in your class. This will help you stay ahead before problems occur, and it can encourage positive feelings toward school when you report good news about student achievements to parents. Stick to your goals, stick to your expectations, and keep communication flowing.
Looking for more tips on how you can increase parent involvement in your classroom this year? Check out our quick video that expands on these ideas and more here ! And don't forget to check out Edmentum's Getting Started Family Resources page to help families in your district get up and running with thier Edmentum programs.
This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated.
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How to Get Parents Involved in Student Education
When they think of education, most people focus on the interaction between teachers and students, but parents are another crucial element. When parents work with children and teachers to prioritize education, student outcomes improve, from grades and test scores to mental health.
Importance of Parental Involvement in Education
Parental involvement is more than checking in on homework. Parent engagement includes volunteering at school, cultivating relationships with teachers, and helping students reach their goals.
Parents’ involvement in their children’s education closely correlates to student success. In fact, more than 50 studies have found that students with involved parents have better grades, self-esteem, graduation rates, and attendance, according to Waterford.org.
Studies have also found that parent engagement leads to better attendance. For examples, when teachers and parents engaged with each other through visits, student absences dropped by 20 percent, according to Waterford.org.
Another study found a direct correlation between student test scores and parent involvement. After analyzing high-, medium-, and low-involvement parents, the study found that student test scores increased with involvement, according to Frontiers in Psychology.
Creative Ways Parents Can Encourage Learning at Home
Many parents became actively involved in their students’ education during the COVID-19 pandemic, but effective parent engagement goes beyond troubleshooting Zoom calls with teachers. Additionally, it is important for parents to stay involved as schools reopen and return to normal post-pandemic. Here are seven creative ways parents can encourage learning at home.
1. Learn Math While Cooking
Everyone needs to eat, so why not make it a math lesson? While preparing meals, parents can help put their children’s math skills to work through counting, measuring, and recognizing shapes for younger children. Brookes Publishing also recommends asking children to measure ingredients, count the table settings, and portion out servings. For older children, ask them how the amount of ingredients would differ if a recipe was halved or doubled this will aid in their fraction, division, and multiplication abilities. This gives students a real-world learning experience and allows them to apply the skills they learn at school in a fun way.
2. Read Books
Parental involvement in education can be as simple as parents reading their students’ favorite stories—and it can go beyond a single read. Repetition may help children develop their literacy and vocabulary skills. It also provides children an opportunity to find comfort through familiarity during unpredictable times. Older children can read a story to their parents out loud. This will not only help develop their vocabulary skills, but also their narration and public speaking abilities.
3. Set Up a Writing Center
Organizing a dedicated writing space enables students to explore their creativity. Parents can set up a table with different colored paper, markers, dry-erase boards, and pencils that encourages students to have fun with writing. This area could also double as a study space, providing students a way to get away from distractions.
4. Premier a Play
Supplementing a student’s theater and art education with at-home performances allows them to apply the skills they learn in school. Students can put on a performance for the family either using puppets or performing as the actors themselves. This helps them understand storylines and character development and offers a safe space to explore their theatrical talents. At the end of the show, parents can ask questions about characters, plot, and storytelling techniques to deepen their understanding. Students who are performing in a play at school can pre-perform their role at home or run lines with their parents for practice.
5. Set Up an At-Home Classroom
Establishing a dedicated school space at home can help students feel a sense of normalcy during a pandemic, and provide an additional space for them to go to to study.. Let them choose the materials they want in the space, from multicolored sticky notes to zebra print notebooks—this is their space to be creative and learn. For younger kids, educational toys like counting blocks can also be added. With their favorite school supplies around them, they’ll be more motivated to “go to school,” work on homework, and study after school each day.
6. Organize Assignments
While organizing school assignments may seem less exciting than putting on a play, it’ll help students feel in control. Parents can help their children create an organization system, from different folders to binders with dividers. Having assignments and school papers lined up, so they can find them and complete their homework efficiently will increase academic success, according to Scholastic.
7. Explore Subjects Outside of School
Parents can encourage their students to learn outside of school. If students have an interest in design or computer science, parents can help them find the resources to explore the subject, from articles and books exploring design to websites that teach code. For younger children with an interest in a particular animal, parents can help them research fun facts. Parents can continue to check in on students’ extracurricular learning and monitor their progress and interest.
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Getting Parents Involved in Schools
On this page:, what is successful parent involvement, what are the barriers to successful parent involvement, how do schools foster successful parent involvement, teach both parents and teachers, personalize.
Parent involvement continues to challenge practitioners engaged in school reform despite being a required component of many school improvement initiatives-from Title I Schoolwide Programs to federally mandated school improvement plans. The benefits of parent involvement are clear: A growing body of research shows that successful parent involvement improves not only student behavior and attendance but also positively affects student achievement. Yet many schools continue to struggle with defining and measuring meaningful parental involvement, and many don’t feel that their efforts are successful. A recent survey of American teachers revealed that 20 percent of new teachers and nearly one fourth of principals identify their relationships with parents as a cause of significant stress in their jobs (MetLife, 2005).
In this article, we offer research-based advice and resources designed to help schools and districts foster successful parent involvement.
Successful parent involvement can be defined as the active, ongoing participation of a parent or primary caregiver in the education of his or her child. Parents can demonstrate involvement at home-by reading with their children, helping with homework, and discussing school events-or at school, by attending functions or volunteering in classrooms. Schools with involved parents engage those parents, communicate with them regularly, and incorporate them into the learning process.
Schools often don’t engage parents because they don’t think they can. “A lot of it is perception. Teachers perceive that families don’t want to be involved when, in fact, families don’t know how to be involved,” says Karen Salinas, communications director for the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University.
For their part, parents are sometimes hesitant to become involved in school because they don’t have extra time or because they don’t speak fluent English. But “the biggest problem is the disconnect between the school and the families,” says Salinas. “Parents believe that they are not welcome. It comes in part from their own education history. They often have had a less-than-satisfactory experience with their own schooling, and so they don’t feel like [being involved] is guaranteed to be a good experience.”
Despite these communication barriers, both schools and parents want the relationship to improve, if only for the benefit of students. A 2003 analysis of more than 25 public opinion surveys by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan public opinion research organization, found that 65 percent of teachers say their students would do better in school if their parents were more involved, and 72 percent of parents feel that children whose parents are not involved sometimes “fall through the cracks” in school (Johnson & Duffett, 2003).
Schools successful in engaging parents start by going beyond narrow definitions of involvement. They don’t just count the number of parents who attend the spaghetti dinner or volunteer at the book fair. They don’t focus on requirements such as having parents sign reports cards. Instead, they start with a belief that student success is a shared interest of both school and family, envision parents as partners in the learning process, and then identify concrete ways that partnership can be activated.
Effective communication requires a two-way flow of information. While most schools develop efficient structures for getting information out-such as newsletters, Web sites, and press releases-far fewer develop similar structures to ensure that feedback from parents is actively solicited.
For some schools, improving communication involves technology such as e-mail messages and interactive phone systems. When Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Virginia, implemented an interactive voicemail, for instance, the school saw parental attendance at freshmen orientation jump from 50 to 1,000 (Viadero, 1997). Parents can use the system, called ParentLink, to hear messages from teachers about what is happening in their children’s classes and access their children’s grades and attendance records.
Other schools try to view parent involvement through the parents’ eyes. B.F. Day Elementary in Seattle, for example, holds parent meetings and workshops not at the school but in a Family Center that operates in the neighborhood where many of their bilingual families live.
Of course, the use of any strategy must be tailored to the school’s population. If families don’t have reliable access to the Internet, e-mail won’t work. A phone message in English won’t communicate much to parents who speak only Spanish. The bottom line for schools is to communicate using strategies that convey what is important in a way that can be heard by parents and families and invites them to respond.
Maryland’s Parent Advisory Council (opens in a new window) formed a subcommittee on nontraditional school-parent communication.
The National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University (opens in a new window) offers school-family communication suggestions and success stories.
For more information on family involvement in Seattle Public Schools, visit the district’s Web site (opens in a new window) .
We know that one thing that keeps parents from being involved is their discomfort with schools. And that discomfort often stems from parents not knowing how to be involved. Schools with a commitment to parent involvement take an active role in helping parents learn a variety of ways to be involved. The benefits for students are proven: A recent review of parent involvement research found that parent-child reading activities produce a significant improvement in children’s language and reading skills from preschool through high school (Sheldon & Epstein, 2005); another study finds a strong positive effect on student achievement when parents work with students on homework (Van Voorhis, 2003).
Many schools use workshops and other school-based programs to help parents learn about what goes on in classrooms. For example, Clara E. Westropp School in Cleveland, Ohio, held monthly family reading nights. Parents go to the elementary school and read with their children as well as speak with teachers about reading and reading strategies (Epstein & Salinas, 2004). Even traditional involvement strategies present teaching opportunities. Sending home a “weekly work folder” is one positive step, but providing parents with specific information about what to look for in the student work goes one step further in communicating what’s important.
The National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University has designed a useful teacher-parent partnership process called Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS). TIPS aims to forge a three-way relationship between teachers, parents, and their children through a creative approach to homework. Among its goals are encouraging parents and children to talk regularly about schoolwork, sharing ideas, gathering reactions, interviewing, or otherwise encouraging interaction between student and family members. TIPS also aims to keep assignments linked to real-life situations and “enable parents and teachers to frequently communicate about children’s work, progress, and problems” (National Network of Partnership Schools, 2005). Some studies show secondary school homework assignments that require parent-student interaction predict higher levels of reading achievement (Sheldon & Epstein, 2005).
Many teachers report feeling unprepared to effectively involve parents. As a means of breaking down these barriers, teachers in the Sacramento, California, area have been trained since 1998 to participate in structured visits to their students’ homes. The first visit focuses on establishing trust, while later trips give teachers and parents a chance to discuss ways in which parents can support students with the material they are learning in school. The schools involved in the program have seen a reduction in discipline problems and increases in attendance rates, and also are starting to see achievement gains.
Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS) (opens in a new window) Web site offers information on interactive homework.
The Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project (opens in a new window) in Sacramento tells how its vision led to statewide changes.
Successful parent-involvement programs typically develop in response to a specific need in the school or its community and are both focused and flexible in addressing that need. A strategy that works in one school might not be the best choice for another. For instance, while Sacajawea Elementary School in Seattle has established a Parent Mentor program in which parents are designated to contact other families to tell them about school activities, another school in the same city, High Point Elementary, began a program that allows parent volunteers to earn points toward rewards such as computers and other educational materials. Both programs have been recognized for dramatically increasing parent involvement.
Successful parent-school partnerships are not stand-alone, add-on programs. Instead, they are well integrated with the school’s overall mission. Typically, quality programs are developed in collaboration with parents and reflect their needs and interests. Offering child care, translators, and multiple opportunities to hear information go a long way toward expressing a school’s genuine interest in parent input.
The U.S. Department’s Family Involvement in Children’s Education (opens in a new window) offers a useful primer for how to set up family-involvement partnerships, offering guidelines and case studies.
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) published Parent Partners: Using Parents to Enhance Education (opens in a new window) , a booklet that examines how and why schools should foster family involvement.
Note: NWREL’s Parent Partners booklet has recently been updated and is called Building Trust with Schools and Diverse Families: A Foundation for Lasting Partnerships (opens in a new window) .
Parents are the most important partner in a child’s education and schools can reap large dividends by capitalizing on their support. To be sure, such relationships require a lot of work by both educators and parents. Although success will not come easy, the rewards are too great for a school not to try.
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Rick Hess Straight Up
Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.
How to Reengage Parents in Their Children’s Schooling
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I wrote recently about the opportunity (and need) to rethink the parent-educator partnership. Inevitably, a bunch of practical questions arise about how to do that. After all, for every frustrated parent who feels unwelcome or out of the loop, there’s an equally frustrated teacher who has stories of parents not showing up for meetings or not responding to phone calls.
And the reality is that there are lots of communities where it feels like the parent-school relationship has unraveled, either in apathy or hostility. Reengaging those parents starts by asking what schools can do to support parents who feel intimidated, confused, or ignored. As I note in The Great School Rethink , one of the big pluses of reaching out to parents is that it can spark a powerful positive feedback loop. Involving parents makes them feel heard and valued, which builds trust. In turn, this trust encourages parents to reach rather than lash out.
After working with school and system leaders on this kind of thing for more years than I care to recall, I find there are four areas that can be especially good to start.
Get a better picture of parent engagement. Oddly, as much as school leaders talk about the value of data and engaging parents, many schools have little reliable information on where things stand with parent engagement. To help with that, Harvard University’s Karen Mapp has created a free 41-question survey that school officials can download. She urges administrators to form a team of parents, community members, teachers, and students to distribute the survey to parents—either online, by hand, or both. The results can illuminate existing relationships, spotlight needs, and suggest next steps.
Bolster parent-teacher interaction. Arizona’s Creighton school district has worked to broaden parent engagement by having each family participate in three teacher-hosted, 75-minute small-group meetings during the school year. At the meetings, teachers walk parents through student-performance data in simple, bar-graph formats. This not only gives parents the chance to see how their child is doing but gives them the opportunity to meet other parents, discuss student performance with them, and feel more attached to the school community. (This matters most for parents who may otherwise feel marginalized or disconnected.) Parents and teachers collectively set academic goals for the next 60 days and revisit those at each meeting.
Create school materials with parents in mind. The program Teachers Involving Parents in School Work advises teachers to create homework that features tips for parents on how best to assist and also requires students to talk to their parents about their assignments. Don’t just encourage parents to help with homework; the point is to give students homework that invites parental involvement and tells parents how they can help. Solicit ideas from parents as to what they’d find useful and include relevant advice and discussion in school communications.
Build a parent education program. The Boston Parent University at the Boston school district offers classes for parents and family members on a variety of topics, all linked to the district’s learning outcomes. In every course, including a cooking class, parents are taught skills that equip them to support their kids academically. School leaders are able to reach out to Parent University, which hosts classes at schools or community centers when they see a need on campus, with staffing mostly provided by external community organizations.
A healthy family-school partnership is about both educators and parents helping each other do better. If that’s not where things stand, and especially if the parent-school relationship feels toxic, there’s usually plenty of blame to go around. In such cases, educators and school leaders can feel like these kinds of steps are pointless. I think that’s exactly backward. It’s in those cases that these kinds of good-faith measures are especially valuable first steps. They won’t fix dysfunctional relationships, but they’re an important place to start.
The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.
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The Importance of Parental Involvement in Education
By: Author Pamela Li Pamela Li is an author, Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Parenting For Brain. Her educational background is in Electrical Engineering (MS, Stanford University) and Business Management (MBA, Harvard University). Learn more
Posted on Last updated: Aug 24, 2023 Evidence Based
- What is parental involvement
- Difference between involvement and engagement
- How does it influence a child’s behavior
- When is it not good for kids
- Quantity vs quality
- Autonomous supportive
In recent years, parent involvement has been widely accepted as the key to improving children’s academic performance and expected in good parenting. Teachers often engage parents through the school curriculum. It is common to see “parents’ help needed” in school projects.
However, not all research comes to the same conclusion.
Let’s find out if parental involvement is the magic bullet in improving students’ performance and closing the achievement gap.
What is Parental Involvement
Parent involvement refers to the collaboration between the parents and the school to improve children’s education experience and academic performance. Countless studies have found that the involvement of parents in education is vital to a child’s success in school.
Parents can become involved in school work in many ways.
Parent involvement in schools can include discussions after school, helping with homework assignments, engaging in extracurricular activities, keeping abreast of academic progress, imparting parental values, participating in parent meetings, attending school activities, and volunteering in the classroom. 1
Difference Between Parental Involvement And Engagement
In the past, parent involvement was the focus of building successful partnerships between parents and teachers. Family involvement is an extended form of parent involvement.
The switch from emphasis on parent involvement to family engagement started when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.
The new terminology emphasizes the importance of engagement from the entire family, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even the community, to form school, family, and community partnerships.
In addition to including other family members, reframing parent involvement to family engagement redefines how family members are more active in kids’ education. They are not just passively being present anymore. 2
The National Association for the Education of Young Children NAEYC defines parent involvement and family engagement. 3
- create and sustain student learning activities at home to enhance the child’s strength
- family and school collaborate through effective communication 4
- ongoing parental participation to build genuine relationships and shared responsibility
- engage families and community by building upon interests and skills 5
How To Motivate Kids
How does parental involvement influence a child’s behavior
A meta-analysis of 66 studies shows that the most accurate predictors of student success are not family income or social status but the extent to which parents and teachers work together to facilitate the child’s education. 6
Extensive research shows that family-school partnerships in education matter because they correlate with better academic success in children7. In elementary school, students with involved parents attend school regularly8, have better social skills9 , and have improved classroom behavior . 7
Research has also shown that students earn higher grades when parental support enhances their self-efficacy and self-esteem and when they feel that their parents pay attention and care about their education . 8
When Is Parent Involvement Not Good For Kids
According to growing research, parents’ involvement in their children’s academic life positively affects their performance.
However, not all research results are consistent. 9 Some studies find mixed or contradictory conclusions regarding parental involvement.
Most studies measured the quantity or frequency of parental involvement without considering the student’s prior achievement, family background, or the quality of parental involvement. 10
Quantity vs. Quality In Parent Involvement
Not every type of parent involvement is associated with good outcomes. The effects of parental involvement in education are not always positive.
When parents; involvement is controlling, the student outcomes tend to be negative.
As one of the closest points of convergence between school and home, homework is where parents can be most involved. 11
By distinguishing the quantity and quality of parental homework involvement, some studies show different conclusions.
For example, when parents are negative or controlling, their frequent involvement decreases the child’s achievement. However, homework help that is perceived as supportive positively affects academic performance. 12
Controlling Parent Involvement
Controlling parents feel they need tight control over their children to ensure their success. They pressure their children to achieve and solve problems for them without being asked to. They often take the parental perspective and ignore the child’s wishes.
One example of controlling parental involvement is homework supervision.
Researchers define controlling involvement as excessive pressure on the child to complete assignments , check if the child has completed their homework , get involved in homework without being asked , and punish the child if homework is not complete . 13
Controlling parent behavior decreases a child’s intrinsic motivation. Such engagement undermines children’s learning motivation and the child’s sense of personal value and responsibility. 14
Parental pressure also correlates with worse test scores. 15
The more controlling the parent and behavior, the worse the child performs in school. 16
Examples of controlling parent involvement include: 17
- Parents work with their children to complete homework unrequested
- Check on homework and force completion
- Direct instructions that undermine intrinsic motivation
- Give privileges because of good grades
- Limit privileges because of poor grades
- Demand student work or chores at home
- Limit time watching TV or video games
- Limit time out with friends on school nights
Autonomous Supportive Parent Involvement
Parents’ involvement is helpful when their action shows that they value their child’s education and are not trying to be controlling .
A child who receives autonomous support from an involved parent tends to perform better academically. These parents allow their children to initiate learning instead of pushing them to do so.
Autonomous supportive parents focus on the learning , not the grades. They assist and only engage as determined by their kids. They are sensitive to their children’s needs and are available to help with homework when requested. 13
Children with autonomous support are in control of their own activities. They are intrinsically motivated to learn and perform better academically. 18
Other examples of autonomous support parent involvement ideas include:
- attend parent-teacher conferences
- attend school events in which the student participates
- volunteer at the school
- encourage parent participation in activities the student is interested in
Need Help Motivating Kids?
If you are looking for additional tips and a step-by-step plan, this online course How To Motivate Kids is a great place to start.
It gives you the steps you need to identify motivation issues in your child and the strategy you can apply to help your child build self-motivation and become passionate about learning.
Once you know this science-based strategy, motivating your child becomes easy and stress-free.
Final Thoughts on Parent Involvement in Education
When schools encourage parents to get involved, it is essential to guide parents support their kids positively. Autonomous supportive parents are not only good for the child’s academic success, but they also positively impact the child’s physical and mental well-being.
When schools engage parents in the learning process, children tend to have more health-promoting behaviors, such as physical activity. Connectedness to family is also associated with fewer reported suicidal ideation in children. Working together, schools and parents can become invaluable support networks for children and adolescents. 19
- 1. Gonzalez-DeHass AR, Willems PP, Holbein MFD. Examining the Relationship Between Parental Involvement and Student Motivation. Educ Psychol Rev . Published online June 2005:99-123. doi: 10.1007/s10648-005-3949-7
- 2. Baker TL, Wise J, Kelley G, Skiba RJ. Identifying Barriers: Creating Solutions to Improve Family Engagement. School Community Journal . 2016;26(2):161-184.
- 3. Halgunseth L, Peterson DRS, Moodie S. Family engagement, diverse families, and early childhood programs: An integrated review of the literature. Washington, DC: The National Association for the Education of Young Children. Published 2009. https://www.researchconnections.org/files/meetings/ccprc/2009/Halgunseth.pdf
- 4. Ferlazzo L. Involvement or Engagement? Educational Leadership . 2011;68(8):10-14.
- 5. Evans MP. Educating preservice teachers for family, school, and community engagement. Teaching Education . Published online June 2013:123-133. doi: 10.1080/10476210.2013.786897
- 6. Henderson AT, Berla N. A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student Achievement . ERIC; 1994.
- 7. El Nokali NE, Bachman HJ, Votruba-Drzal E. Parent Involvement and Children’s Academic and Social Development in Elementary School. Child Development . Published online May 13, 2010:988-1005. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01447.x
- 8. Al-Alwan AF. Modeling the Relations among Parental Involvement, School Engagement and Academic Performance of High School Students. IES . Published online March 25, 2014. doi: 10.5539/ies.v7n4p47
- 9. Cooper H, Lindsay JJ, Nye B. Homework in the Home: How Student, Family, and Parenting-Style Differences Relate to the Homework Process. Contemporary Educational Psychology . Published online October 2000:464-487. doi: 10.1006/ceps.1999.1036
- 10. McLoyd VC. Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist . Published online February 1998:185-204. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.53.2.185
- 11. Moroni S, Dumont H, Trautwein U, Niggli A, Baeriswyl F. The Need to Distinguish Between Quantity and Quality in Research on Parental Involvement: The Example of Parental Help With Homework. The Journal of Educational Research . Published online July 15, 2015:417-431. doi: 10.1080/00220671.2014.901283
- 12. Pomerantz EM, Wang Q, Ng FFY. Mothers’ Affect in the Homework Context: The Importance of Staying Positive. Developmental Psychology . Published online 2005:414-427. doi: 10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2064
- 13. Karbach J, Gottschling J, Spengler M, Hegewald K, Spinath FM. Parental involvement and general cognitive ability as predictors of domain-specific academic achievement in early adolescence. Learning and Instruction . Published online February 2013:43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.09.004
- 14. Rogers MA, Theule J, Ryan BA, Adams GR, Keating L. Parental Involvement and Children’s School Achievement. Canadian Journal of School Psychology . Published online March 2009:34-57. doi: 10.1177/0829573508328445
- 15. Pomerantz EM, Eaton MM. Maternal intrusive support in the academic context: Transactional socialization processes. Developmental Psychology . Published online 2001:174-186. doi: 10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.11
- 16. Fei-Yin Ng F, Kenney-Benson GA, Pomerantz EM. Children’s Achievement Moderates the Effects of Mothers’ Use of Control and Autonomy Support. Child Development . Published online May 2004:764-780. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00705.x
- 19. Carter M, McGee R, Taylor B, Williams S. Health outcomes in adolescence: Associations with family, friends and school engagement. Journal of Adolescence . Published online February 2007:51-62. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2005.04.002
* All information on parentingforbrain.com is for educational purposes only. Parenting For Brain does not provide medical advice. If you suspect medical problems or need professional advice, please consult a physician. *
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Parent Involvement Can Benefit Children in Many Ways
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Social functioning, mental health.
Parent involvement in their kids' education has far-reaching benefits. Here are the effects that researchers have found most consistently.
Countless studies have found that kids perform better in school when their parents are involved with their schoolwork. Compared to students whose parents are uninvolved, kids with involved parents get better grades and are thought more highly of by teachers. These effects remain in the future, even if parents become less involved as the child ages. Parent involvement in school-based activities seems to have the greatest effect on kids' grades, but home-based parent involvement also plays at least some role.
Involved parents enhance school performance in a number of ways, including by fostering a mastery orientation toward learning and encouraging self-discipline , a skill that's critical to school success.
Kids whose parents are involved with their schoolwork attend school more regularly than kids whose parents are uninvolved. This probably occurs for a number of reasons. For one, parents who are involved typically value school highly and encourage consistent attendance. Secondly, kids who get help from parents tend to feel more academically competent, so they are less likely to want to avoid going to school . Finally, parent involvement improves kids' attitudes about school, making school attendance more desirable.
Behavior issues often begin to appear during the tween years, especially as kids' cognitive development leads them toward risk-taking. Thankfully, parental attention can help to head off many of these behavior issues. For instance, children with involved parents have lower rates of substance use and delinquent acts compared to kids whose parents are uninvolved. In addition, kids behave better and less aggressively in the classroom when their parents are involved with their education.
Parent involvement in education also aids kids' social functioning. In particular, kids with involved parents have better peer interactions than kids with uninvolved parents. Their social skills also seem to be more advanced. Notably, advanced social skills, in turn, lead to better academic outcomes.
Finally, kids with involved parents have better mental health than children whose parents do not get involved in their education. For one, parent involvement in education fosters kids' self-esteem . Children with involved parents also have enhanced skills for regulating emotions and feel negative emotions less often. All in all, when parents choose to become involved with their kid's schoolwork, kids benefit not only in the classroom but far beyond it.
El nokali NE, Bachman HJ, Votruba-drzal E. Parent involvement and children's academic and social development in elementary school . Child Dev . 2010;81(3):988-1005. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01447.x
Topor DR, Keane SP, Shelton TL, Calkins SD. Parent involvement and student academic performance: A multiple mediational analysis . J Prev Interv Community . 2010;38(3):183-97. doi:10.1080/10852352.2010.486297
Gonzalez-DeHass AR. Parent Involvement for Motivated Learners: Encouraging Self-Directed and Resilient Students . Philadelphia, PA: Routledge; 2019.
Lara L, Saracostti M. Effect of parental involvement on children's academic achievement in Chile . Front Psychol . 2019;10:1464. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01464
Hayakawa M, Giovanelli A, Englund MM, Reynolds AJ. Not just academics: Paths of longitudinal effects from parent involvement to substance abuse in emerging adulthood . J Adolesc Health . 2016;58(4):433-439. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.11.007
El Nokali NE, Bachman HJ, Votruba-Drzal E. Parent involvement and children's academic and social development in elementary school . Child Dev . 2010;81(3):988-1005. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01447.x
Fiorilli C, Grimaldi capitello T, Barni D, Buonomo I, Gentile S. Predicting adolescent depression: The interrelated roles of self-esteem and interpersonal stressors . Front Psychol . 2019;10:565. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00565
Hornby G, Lafaele R. Barriers to parental involvement in education: An explanatory model . Educational Review. 2010;63(1):37-52.
By Rebecca Fraser-Thill Rebecca Fraser-Thill holds a Master's Degree in developmental psychology and writes about child development and tween parenting.
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Parent Involvement Project
Providing High-Quality Family Early Learning Experiences
The PARENT INVOLVEMENT PROJECT ( PIP), which works collaboratively with parents, schools, and communities , is an innovative and multifaceted parent education program offered to school districts and addresses the needs of underserved families beginning when children enter preschool. ( Download a PDF of this page. )
Research* shows that when parents and other adult family members meaningfully engage in children’s learning, they play a vital role in enabling children to succeed in school and later in life. PIP nurtures parents’ critical role as their child’s first and most important teachers.
An evaluation study found that parents value the family learning experiences that PIP provides. ( Download a PDF of the Executive Summary. )
PIP supports parents through a model of four closely linked and integrated components, as depicted in this graphic.
Parent participation in their children’s classroom.
- Parents engage in meaningful and skill-enhancing activities with their child and other children in the context of the classroom.
- Caring and supportive teachers model positive and responsive adult-child interactions for parents to practice in the classroom and at home.
Parent Education Workshops
- Presenters, often community members from public agencies, who have expertise in their subject matter provide strategies and guidance for parents to support children’s learning and development across four domains: cognitive, language and literacy, social-emotional, and physical development and health .
- Parents are encouraged to actively participate at each workshop to make it a more engaging experience.
- PIP Home Visitors develop warm, mutually respectful relationships with families to enhance parent-teacher-child connections and communication.
- Home visits focus on supporting parenting skills and practices to support children’s early learning.
- Field trips and school-site presentations build on children’s curiosity and enable parents and children to share learning experiences away from the classroom.
- Activities leverage community resources, link to classroom learning, and are designed to be interesting, enjoyable, and to encourage families to seek these kinds of activities on their own.
How PIP Works
- Parents sign a Parent Agreement at the beginning of the school year and commit to participate in the child’s classroom one session each month, attend not less than eight parent education workshops, host six home visits, participate in enrichment activities as their schedules permit, and regularly practice the parenting skills they have learned.
- A district administrator, who has oversight of the preschool program, serves as the PIP Program Supervisor and works to maintain the quality of PIP activities while aligning them with the regular educational program.
- The PIP Facilitator, who, working collaboratively with district staff, manages the day-to-day aspects of what PIP provides.
- The PIP Home Visitor focuses on the home-visit component, linking the knowledge and skills parents acquire through the parent education workshops and classroom participation.
- Teachers encourage parents’ participation in the classroom and communicate regularly with PIP staff regarding the needs of individual children and families.
- PIP’s strongest advocates may be school principals and district administrators who can attest to how well the PIP components are being implemented, build enthusiasm among school staff, and help instill a strong culture for parent participation.
WestEd’s Role in Supporting the Parent Involvement Project
Critical to PIP’s success are the direction and oversight that WestEd brings to the project’s implementation and administration. Specifically, WestEd:
- oversees PIP implementation at each participating school district to ensure program fidelity ;
- provides ongoing support and guidance in consultation with district PIP Program Supervisors;
- provides a platform for sharing experiences and ideas and for encouraging innovation ;
- advises in the selection, hiring, and supervision of PIP Facilitators and PIP Home Visitors ;
- provides professional development opportunities for PIP staff to enhance the quality of implementation;
- initiates and supports district efforts to sustain parent learning and family engagement as children transition to kindergarten and beyond ; and
- evaluates project performance to validate outcomes and identify areas for quality improvement.
This project has been made possible in part by a grant from an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
* Related Research
The following research speaks to the importance of the parent-child relationship in the context of the home and school:
- Barrueco, S., Smith, S., & Stephens, S. (2015). Supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families to promote young children’s learning: Implications for early care and education policy. New York, NY: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections. Retrieved from https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/30185/pdf
- Dunst, C. J., Bruder, M. B., Trivette, C. M., & Hamby, D. W. (2006). Everyday activity settings, natural learning environments, and early intervention practices. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities , 3 (1), 3–10.
- Halgunseth, L. C., Peterson, A., Stark, D. R., & Moodie, S. (2009). Family engagement, diverse families, and early childhood education programs: An integrated review of the literature. Washington, DC.
- Henderson, A., & Mapp, K. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.sedl.org/connections/resources/evidence.pdf
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Young children develop in an environment of relationships (Working Paper No. 1). Retrieved from https://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp1/
- Early Childhood Home Visiting Best Practices: Institutes and Customized Professional Learning
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Strong parent-teacher partnerships and evidence-based reading strategies are key, panelists said at a roundtable hosted by EdSource.
Betty Márquez Rosales
October 25, 2022, where's the village for high school students.
Why is it that when students enter high school, support seems to drop drastically? In such a pivotal time in their lives, we abandon the constant support they are used to having at school.
May 12, 2022
California set to launch hundreds of community schools with $635 million in grants.
The state's "whole child" model stresses collaborating with parents, teachers and community organizations; 265 districts are to receive initial funding.
May 10, 2022
Controversial gender ideology in public education undermines families of faith.
California and local school boards must allow parents to mentor their children on gender matters.
Rabbi Dov Fischer
February 4, 2022, noncitizen parents can vote in san francisco school board recall. but will they.
Elected officials and advocates for allowing noncitizen parents to vote in the San Francisco school board recall say it’s important because many of the district’s parents are not citizens.
January 20, 2022, teachers must prioritize inclusivity.
Making sure that all students feel valued, seen and included must not be left to chance.
December 7, 2021, what’s the point of high school where i teach, it's more than a diploma.
We need to get back to the reasons teachers start teaching in the first place: to support students, to inspire futures and to create fulfilled adults.
April 7, 2021, parent group sues los angeles unified asking for full reopening of schools.
A Los Angeles parent group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Los Angeles Unified calling for a return to full-time, in-person instruction.
September 25, 2020
Waiting lists for home-school programs as parents grow weary of distance learning.
Home-schooling programs have seen a surge of interest since campuses closed in March. Parents are looking for flexibility and control.
August 28, 2020
Low-income parents turn to neighbors, family for help with distance learning.
Parent leaders can be crucial for helping low-income families and those who do not speak English navigate distance learning.
Parental Involvement vs. Parental Engagement
Updated on February 13, 2023, and originally posted February 1, 2023, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Parents are vital in ensuring their children’s safety, security, and well-being as well as their educational success.
Parental involvement in school is key: In a 1994 meta-analysis of 66 studies and other publications, researchers found that family “ makes critical contributions to student achievement from the earliest childhood years through high school.” Efforts to improve children’s educational outcomes “ are much more effective when the family is actively involved,” the researchers concluded .
What Is the Difference Between Parental Involvement and Engagement?
What many may not know is that there is an important difference between parental involvement and parental engagement.
An involved parent takes part in the activities already determined by the school. An engaged parent takes a step further, often becoming part of the school’s decision-making process.
Think of the two as complimentary actions, a kind of yin and yang that together produce better outcomes for students.
Parental involvement may include classroom volunteering, chaperoning school events, participating in parent-teacher conferences and other communication with teachers. Educators largely control these activities, inviting parents to participate.
With engagement, schools intentionally give parents opportunities to offer their own input, develop on their own abilities and take ownership over ideas. Effective engagement can include training for parents of children with special needs and involving parents in key school-wide decisions.
It is driven, foremost, by parents’ needs as their children’s primary caregivers.
Longtime educator Larry Ferlazzo has written that while parent involvement often involves one-way communication, parent engagement involves two-way conversations. These conversations occur not just through more intentional communication but through efforts like home visits and phone calls to parents in crisis or routine check-ins “ that don’t necessarily only happen when there’s a problem with a child.”
Download the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders report. This publication introduces an assessment and planning tool to help nonprofits evaluate their parent engagement efforts and chart a path toward deeper partnerships with parents and caregivers.
Examples of Parent Involvement vs. Engagement
Parents can become involved in their children’s education by:
- attending or volunteering at school functions;
- discussing school events;
- helping out with homework; and
- reading with children;
Becoming more involved creates a supportive learning environment at home.
Schools can build engagement by:
- involving parents in school-wide decision-making, from instruction to nutrition;
- developing programming for parents that trains them in key areas such as digital skills;
- inviting parents in to learn more about how schools work and how they can meet their children’s needs;
- initiating “ parent academies” conceived and run by parents themselves, focusing on concerns and needs that they identify; and
- encouraging parents to see their school as an institution that is part of a neighborhood or larger community.
Ferlazzo, the educator, said it best when he wrote: “ A school striving for family involvement often leads with its mouth — identifying projects, needs and goals and then telling parents how they can contribute. A school striving for parent engagement, on the other hand, tends to lead with its ears — listening to what parents think, dream and worry about. The goal of family engagement is not to serve clients but to gain partners.”
Parental Engagement and Parental Involvement Work Together for the Better Outcomes
Though parental engagement often produces better outcomes than involvement alone, the best school programs interact with parents in both ways. Benefits to students may include higher grades and test scores, better attendance and behavior, increased enrollment in challenging courses and improved social skills.
“ As teachers, we know that families must be critical allies in creating learning communities where all children can achieve equitable outcomes,” writes educator Ilene Carver . “ We need to believe that all families sincerely care about their children and will do everything they can to support them. If we, as teachers, reach out with respect, family members will get involved.”
Educators say that strong connections between schools and families can help address important non-school factors — such as health, safety, and affordable housing — that account for about two-thirds of the variance in student achievement. These connections can also improve parents’ “ feelings of efficacy” at school and increase community support for schools themselves.
Parent engagement is “ the ultimate goal of great schools,” according to the advocacy group Parents 4 Public Schools , “ because it allows for not only the creation of better parent-school partnerships but also has a tremendous impact on student achievement.”
How Schools Can Encourage Family Engagement
Schools must build relationships, first and foremost.
One place to start? By asking families how they want to be engaged, says Carver . This means asking families “ what days and times are convenient for them, and what the school could do to support their involvement.”
Carver points to small discussion groups or focus groups, hosted either formally or informally, as a means for gathering family perspectives. “ If families say that transportation, childcare, or the need to prepare a meal before coming are barriers, set up a ride network,” she writes, “ invite the whole family, have activities for younger children, and serve dinner.”
Schools should invite teachers, staff, families and community members who can help view the environment “ as a new visitor would see it,” says Carver. “ How inviting is the entrance? Are there signs letting people know, in a friendly way, where to find what they’re looking for? What happens when they go into the office? Can families easily get their concerns addressed, questions answered and problems resolved?”
Putting student work in the spotlight draws families, Carver adds. “ Ask teachers and parents to be ‘ greeters’ and welcome families as they come in. Offer interpreters if English is not their first language. Ask local musicians (many may be parents) to provide music. And have fun!”
In areas stricken with poverty and violence, engagement is still possible, according to educators. For example: In Sacramento, California, Parent Teacher Home Visits — a collaboration among an interfaith organizing group, the local school district and the teachers’ union — has resulted in better student attendance, higher graduation rates, more parent involvement and lower teacher turnover, advocates say.
The Sacramento program arose after parents complained that it was nearly impossible to talk to teachers about their children. After the visits, advocates say, families are more comfortable coming to school.
More on Parent Engagement and Parent Involvement
- Report: Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders
- Report: Parental Involvement in Education
- Blog Post: Parental Involvement in Reading
- Interactive KIDS COUNT ® Data Book : Education in the United States
This post is related to:
- Early Childhood
- Health and Child Development
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